Hackbarth hopes to put the noir back into bar pick ups

Rep. Tom Hackbarth in committee. Click on image to satisfy yourself that he has not had a neck lift.

I had really feared that we had heard the last of Minnesota state representative Tom Hackbarth (R-Cedar). The public being as fickle as it is, who knew whether something as innocent as prowling for a woman he had one date with (and who he suspected was out with someone else) in a Planned Parenthood parking lot, at night, with a fully loaded .38 Smith and Weston pistol, might actually harm your political career. Even though you are married and espouse all the family values, like the right to bear arms. What would have made his disappearance from public light the more tragic was his willingness to expand the universe of personal liberty protected by the state constitution, such as by proposing this amendment:

“The right of a citizen to wear fur, pelts, skins, or hides from legally taken animals, including farm-raised animals, and the right of a citizen to display legally taken trophy animals on premises owned, leased, or otherwise legally occupied by the citizen shall not be infringed.”

I should have known better than to be worried. You can’t keep a man like Tom Hackbarth down. Like Alexander Hamilton he was able to bounce back from a scandal involving a woman not his wife, and be even more influential.

I must admit that I thought if we would hear from Rep. Hackbarth again it would be in connection with a regulation of online dating. If women were required to post their telephone numbers online, he would never have been involved in that last mix-up in the first place.

But it’s not always about the last battle with Tom. He can see even further back. So we hear of him introducing a bill to repeal the ban on smoking in bars and restaurants signed not long ago by Republican Governor and now Presidential Hopeful Tim Pawlenty. This would surely solve his dating problem. Especially if he exercises his right to wear a bear-skin coat, with a rabbit’s foot around his neck and a coonskin cap on his head, when he enters a dimly lit bar with a Virginia Slim dangling from his lips, no woman could possibly resist. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources may have to step in, however, because a kill that easy might not be sporting. It’d be like fishing with two lines all year long.

Unfortunately for Hackbarth, his bill must take a backseat (so to speak) to the serious budget slashing initiatives that the Tea Partying Republicans believe is the recipe for recovery. (The intellectual quiver of the current right-wing is not just filled with the arrow of Lafler Curves. Though it is not yet named, their current arrow calls for government spending to be reduced at a time when government was the one area providing stable demand for goods and services. Since the principle is nameless, let me suggest one: Hooverism.)

Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove), the current speaker of the Minnesota House, says that anything not dealing with the budget will have to wait. It seems that Zellers was saying something else as well, something possibly crushing to Hackbarth’s dream of the romantic dens of smoke-filled cabarets he could slip into after he slipped out of smoke-filled rooms. “The will of the body and the governor was done,” Zellers said of passage of the smoking ban.

“No one goes out anymore,” said Hackbarth in defense of his bill. You can almost hear the desperation.

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